Yuletide season is a magical time when air is chilly, but the warmth of the spirit makes it a joyful celebration. The festival is celebrated across India but places like Shimla have a little more to offer. If one is looking for a white Christmas amidst the snow covered hills, Shimla is that perfect destination.
Shimla, the Queen of Hills is a renowned place all over the world, therefore a heavy influx of tourists is witnessed during the holiday season. They indulge in the Christmas and New Year celebrations along with the natives. In Shimla, the Catholics decorate their house with lights and stars. Some of the families organize a grand feast. They elaborately decorate the Christmas tree in their homes. Families also enjoy by singing carols and playing different games during the celebration. People dressed as Santa can be seen distributing sweets and gifts on the Mall. For entertainment, most of the resorts and hotels organize late night DJ parties and many exciting competitions. Also,during the holiday season in December there is an annual ice skating carnival.
The churches are also well decorated with red roses which attracts many tourists. The famous Christ Church on the historic Ridge road (the Mall Shimla) is a delight to watch on the evening of Christmas. The Anglican Christ Church was built in a neo-Gothic style and was opened in 1857.The Christ church is believed to be North India s second oldest church.
A historic pipe organ in the Christ Church is played during the special service on Christmas. It has been operational since one hundred and eleven years now. The pipe organ was installed in the church on September 23, 1899 during British colonial rule. It is believed to be one of the oldest working instruments in the world. According to the church archives, first notes were heard five days after it was installed, costing Rs. 23,000. It was first repaired in 1932 and is still maintained with great care.
The pipe organ is made of the great organ, pedal organ, harmonica flute, base flute, swell organ and violin diapason. The wind instrument produces sound using thousands of arranged pipes. The air is controlled from a large musical keyboard. The church choir sings carols in English and Hindi accompanied by the organists. As the church bells chime, they take away another event-packed year and prepares us to welcome the New Year with new hopes.